Unite accuses Yorkshire Ambulance Service of 'bullying tactics''

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

A TRADE union has accused ambulance bosses of ignoring the recommendations of the Francis Report to stop them raising patient safety issues.

Unite said by derecognising the union, Yorkshire Ambulance Service was ignoring the lessons of the Stafford Hospital scandal.

It follows criticism of the ambulance services reorganisation plans by Unite.

The union's head of health Rachael Maskell said: "At a time when the Francis Report recommends a culture of candour focused on patient care, it beggars belief that bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have taken this action.

"They have derecognised Unite for raising concerns about the proposed shake-up in ambulance services."

She said the attitude "smacks of bullying and gagging those who believe patients will be put at risk."

Unite say a plan by the YAS to introduce more emergency care assistants to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics is purely about saving money.

But YAS defended its decision to derecognise Unite.

David Whiting, YAS chief executive, said: "Unfortunately the working relationship with Unite remains disappointing and we have not received a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions that the Trust has been required to make for the future, particularly as we seek to maintain high-quality care for patients against the realities of the tough economic climate.

"I would like to reassure members of the public that all our decisions are focused on continuing to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and this will always remain our top priority."

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